Raw food diets for dogs

Goals

Identify the percentage of dog owners in the U.S. who feed their dog a raw diet or are open to putting their dog on a raw diet, identify barriers to adopting a raw food diet for dog owners, identify drivers inclining people to adopt a raw food diet, and identify if there is a type of food or meat that is preferred for raw food diets. This information will help scope a new project.

Early Findings

  • Of 2,337 respondents polled in 2017 (most between 51-60 years old), 46 percent of dog owners in the U.S. had previously fed their dog a raw food diet. Of that number, 89 percent were doing so at the time of the survey.
  • In the 2017 survey, 89 percent of the pet owners who opted for a raw food diet were female, 61 percent were over 41, and 61 percent did not have children.
  • Dog owners who support a raw food diet have less trust in veterinarians than their counterparts.
  • The FDA has recommended against raw dog food on the basis of finding Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in samples purchased online, driving consumer concern.
  • Sales of raw and refrigerated pet foods in the U.S. increased by 263 percent between 2011-2017, increasing from $43.7 million to $158.7 million.
  • A popular diet model for dogs is Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF), which amounts to 70 percent muscle meat, 10 percent raw edible bone, 7 percent vegetables, 5 percent liver, 5 percent other secreting organ, 2 percent seeds or nuts, and 1 percent fruit.
  • The prey-model diet recommends whole animals, such as rabbits or hens, being fed to the dog.

Summary of Early Findings

This hour of research was spent seeking to determine if available information exists to answer each of the questions posited. Information on the size of the market and the percentage of dog owners familiar with a raw food diet is readily available and was provided.

One survey detailing the demographic of the dog owner who feeds their dog a raw diet was found but additional sources could not be readily located.

Information on the types of raw meat most commonly fed to dogs could not be readily located. However, popular brands list their ingredients on their websites and this information can be aggregated to identify what brands are using.

Motivators for and against a raw food diet for dogs are available and additional factors can be collected with further time allotted.

Proposed next steps:

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